Status Report

Florida Spacegram 20 Dec 2000

By SpaceRef Editor
December 20, 2000
Filed under ,



FROM: EDWARD ELLEGOOD ( 321-730-5301; [email protected]; )

NASA Finds Strong Evidence of a Wet Mars — NASA announced this month
that several remotely sensed images of Mars show strong evidence that the
planet was once covered with seas and lakes. Researchers further
speculated that layers of sedimentary rock may contain valuable records
of past life on Mars, including fossils. The findings are prompting NASA
to consider various options for new exploratory missions to Mars. Such
expeditions would likely be launched from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

Spaceport Authority Supports Multi-Port Gathering — The Spaceport
Authority participated in an East-Central Florida of the ports panel
discussion on Dec. 7. A recurring recommendation during the event was
for the various airports, seaports and spaceport to work more closely
together, perhaps as part of a new organization, to pursue state and
federal policy issues.

Dot-Com Troubles Spell Relief for Aerospace Workforce, But Problems Still
Linger — According to Reuters, workers who fled or avoided the aerospace
industry in favor of higher-paying jobs with dot-com and high-tech
startup companies are now returning to the aerospace workforce. The
ìbusting of the dot-com bubble” is the cause of their return. Despite
these developments, the aerospace industry continues to suffer from
severe workforce shortages as the number of engineering-related graduates
declines and the number of retirement-age employees increases.

South Korea Plans Large Rocket — According to Orbital Report, the South
Korean Ministry of Science & Technology has budgeted $4.26 billion for
the development of a national launch vehicle capable of lifting 1 ton of
payload (presumably to sun-synchronous orbit) by 2010. South Korea had
previously announced plans to develop a smaller vehicle by 2005.

MirCorp Seeks Use of International Space Station — MirCorp, the company
that was planning to put a tourist and a TV-show contestant on Russiaí
Mir space station, is now hoping to shift their activities to the
NASA-led International Space Station, using a Russian-built module,
according to Florida Today. Two other companies, Boeing and Spacehab,
are also working to attach Russian-built commercial modules to the
International Space Station. According to, MirCorp may soon
form a partnership with Spacehab on these opportunities. It is still
unclear whether MirCorp customers will be allowed to fly aboard the
Space Station. Meanwhile, a German television company is working on a
deal to allow European citizens to compete for a trip to the Space

Pensacola is Little-Known Home for Astronaut Training — The Pensacola
Naval Air Station has become a vital part of NASAí astronaut training
program. Astronaut trainees visit the Northwest Florida city regularly
for flight training and water survival training.

Titan IV Phase-Out to be Delayed — According to Defense Daily and
Orbital Report, the U.S. Air Force is expected to extend its contracts
with Lockheed Martin to launch Titan IV rockets beyond the previous
target date for the vehicle’s last launch in 2002. Due to delays in the
launches, the Titan IVs should remain in operation far beyond 2002.
Eight Titan IVs are still planned for launch from the Cape Canaveral
Spaceport and two from California. Since there is only one Titan IV
launch pad at each launch site, and because at least six months are
required between two launches from the same pad, the last Titan IV may
not fly before mid-2004 at the earliest, according to Orbital Report.
Three full sets of Titan IV solid rocket motors are maintained at the
Spaceport Authority’s North Florida rocket motor storage facility in Camp

Boeing Plans California Layoff — According to the Orlando Sentinel,
Boeing will lay off 44% of its 900-person workforce in Palmdale, as the
company completes its $9 million upgrade of the Space Shuttle Columbia,
which will be shipped back to the Cape Canaveral Spaceport in February.
Boeing will likely rehire many workers when another Space Shuttle is
sent to California for upgrades.

Safety Issues Raised for Nevada Spaceport — According to,
Washington-based Kistler Aerospace faces environmental opposition for its
plans to fly their reusable rockets from proposed a spaceport in Nevada.
An article in the Earth Island Journal claims that Kistlerís launches
would endanger the thousands of rural and city residents as their
vehicles fly over populated areas. Kistler has identified the Nevada
site as a backup to their primary launch site in Australia.

Sponsors Invited for Broward County Celebration for Shuttle Commander and
Crew — The commander and crew of the recently completed Space Shuttle
mission to the International Space Station will be honored in Fort
Lauderdale on January 29-31 with a multi-event Salute to STS-97. Mission
Commander Brent Jett is a Navy aviator who grew up in Ft. Lauderdale.
The Spaceport Authority will sponsor a table at a Jan. 30 dinner event,
which will include NASA Administrator Dan Goldin as the keynote speaker.
Florida aerospace companies are encouraged to participate with
sponsorships and other opportunities. Contact Kim English at

Europe Proceeds with Vega Launcher — The European Space Agency announced
on Dec. 19 that Europe would proceed with full development of the Vega
small launcher. Developed and manufactured by European industry, Vega
will complete the range of European launch services (Vega = small; Ariane
IV = medium; Ariane V = large) and compete internationally for small
payloads weighing up to 1500 kg. A related ESA decision was made to
develop and ground-qualify an advanced-technology first stage for the
Vega launcher called the P80, which would also serve Ariane V
requirements for a strap-on motor.

Canaveral Council of Technical Societies Plans Awards & Career Fair —
The Canaveral Council of Technical Societies (CCTS) is accepting
nominations for the Engineer Achievement Award and the Engineer of the
Year Award. Winners will be announced during Engineering Week in
February. Nomination packets can be obtained from Tony Guiffrida at
321-779-6064 or [email protected] CCTS is also planning a Scientific
& Technical Career Fair on Thursday, January 18, 2001 from 5:00 to 8:00
p.m. at the Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Targeted audience will
be 7th – 12th grade students. Organizations are encouraged to provide
exhibits and information booths on scientific and technical career
opportunities. CCTS also needs enthusiastic presenters to discuss
scientific and techical career issues with teens. Call Travis Lauritsen,
Education & Vocation Committee Chair at 321-494-9281 or
[email protected]

NASA Offers University Faculty Opportunities — As part of a NASA-wide
program, Kennedy Space Center is offering opportunities for university
faculty to work at KSC over the summer on space-related issues. KSC is
especially interested in faculty who are interested in Range-related.
Faculty are also encouraged to have their students apply to either the
Graduate Student Research Program or the NASA Undergraduate Student
Research Program so that they arrive at KSC as a team. For more
information on the programs and the technical areas of interest see:

NASA Helps Track Santa with Space Station — While many television
networks will be showing holiday specials on Christmas Eve, The Weather
Channel, with support from NASA and Dreamtime, will be airing SantaWatch,
to track Santa and his reindeer beginning at 9 a.m. EDT on Christmas Eve.
The Weather Channel will air hourly reports from Mission Control at
Johnson Space Center in Houston, featuring the latest Santa tracking
information from the International Space Station. With eyewitness
sightings from the International Space Station and clues from Weather
Channel meteorologists around the globe, children will be able to guess
the location of Santa’s next sighting.

NOAA and NORAD Will Also Track Santa — According to, the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will help the North
American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) track Santa Claus on Christmas
Eve, with NOAA maintaining a satellite watch of the North Pole for
weather conditions and any unusual activity. NOAA’s Satellite Command
and Data Acquisition Station in Fairbanks, Alaska, is ready to spot
activity at the North Pole. NORAD will answer children’s questions on its
comprehensive, six-language Santa tracking Web site at All site material, including the live tracking
event, will be available in English, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian
and Brazilian Portuguese. NORAD will also attempt to set the record
straight in regards to outrageous allegations that have been made by
several fifth grade students as to the existence of Santa Claus. Seeing
is believing and NORAD has perfected its 46-year-old tradition of
tracking Santa on Christmas Eve. Visual and audio updates will be posted
hourly on the Web site from 7:00 a.m. Dec. 24 EST to 5:00 a.m. Dec. 25

Happy Holidays from the Spaceport Florida Authority!

Edward Ellegood

Spaceport Florida Authority

100 Spaceport Way

Cape Canaveral, Florida 32920-4003

321-730-5301, ext. 1105 (phone); 321-730-5307 (fax)

SpaceRef staff editor.